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Hydration Libation: Holiday Edition: Tips on the Best Alcohol-Free Holiday Drinks!

Updated: Sep 27, 2023


One of the main themes of holiday parties, for better or worse, is alcohol! Beautifully colored cocktails, specialty brews, fancy wines, wassail, bourbon-spiked eggnog...the list goes on and on! It's fun to imbibe, yet important for many reasons to keep a handle on our alcohol consumption. One is that drinking alcohol accelerates our dehydration, which is already challenged in the dry months of winter. This blog is an offering to strategies on 'mixing it up' during the holidays and trying some hydrating, alcohol-free, libations to enjoy during the holiday season and beyond!


When the body needs water our brains send the signal of thirst – an essential survival mechanism that maintains fluid balance. Having a pre-filled water flask always on hand is one of the best habits we can practice to ensure proper hydration, but even with the super sleek containers available today, most people still do not achieve adequate water intake. This is important to note, as every process in the body requires water – not enough and you could face more than dehydration. Kidney stones, loss of cognitive function, constipation, and fatigue can all be related to poor fluid balance.


We love you water, but sometimes we’re looking for something a little less…meh. The requisite lemon wedge is always nice, but we’re often left wanting more. Let’s explore some ways to jazz it up a bit ~especially around the holidays~ and transform your water from hydration to libation. Here is a simple formula with some alcohol-free holiday drink recipes to try:


MUDDLED FRUIT + HERBS + LIQUID BASE + CITRUS + OPTIONAL ADD-INS



fruit in a wicker bowl

MUDDLED FRUIT: Soft fruits work best. A drink muddler is meant for this task [the kind they use to muddle fruit in glasses for mojitos] but you can also place fruit in a bowl and break it up with a fork or use a mortar and pestle to gently break apart fruit.


  • Berries

  • Ripe mango or peaches coarsely chopped

  • Pitted cherries

  • Pineapple

  • Melon

Fresh herbs on a cutting board

HERBS: Here are a few of our favorite combinations – just chop coarsely and muddle with fruit before adding liquids.


  • Mint + Watermelon

  • Basil + Peach

  • Rosemary + Grapefruit

  • Sage + Blackberry

  • Lemon verbena + ANYTHING!

  • Cilantro + Lime + Honeydew


Tea in a clear tea cup

LIQUID BASE: Go for color and flavor.

  • Herbal Tea – We love hibiscus for its gorgeous bright red color and rich flavor. Perfect for a festive holiday mocktail. Steep four bags in a cup of boiling water to increase the density of flavor.

  • Green Tea – Everything from matcha to yerbé mate, it’s all good. Be sure to select caffeinated varieties as the health-promoting flavonoids are destroyed during the decaffeination process.

  • Lemon Tea – Add the rind from a lemon to 2 cups of boiling water. Simmer for 5 minutes then let sit to infuse.

  • Ginger Tea – Get a dose of antioxidants while sipping on your Ginger libation. Peel and coarsely chop 2” piece of ginger and bring to a boil in two cups of water. Simmer for 5 minutes then let sit to infuse.

  • Kombucha - Slightly acidic and fruity, Kombucha delivers flavor and probiotics to up the nutritional value of your libation.

CITRUS: Squeeze in to finish and add some slices for visual impact.

Slices of citrus fruit arranged on a platter

  • Lime

  • Lemon

  • Orange

  • Grapefruit

  • Pomegranate Seeds also make a great impact!

ADD-INS:

  • Splash of sparkling water – Everyone loves a little fizz!

  • Cucumber – Nothing screams refreshing quite like cucumber! Just peel and process in a blender to purée. About 1/2 cucumber per drink works.

  • Chia seed – Add chia seed to make a Chia Fresca! This seed holds more than 30x its weight in water and can help maintain hydration long after you have emptied your glass. Try adding 1 teaspoon to your glass and stir well. Let sit for 10 minutes before drinking.

  • Stevia or a touch of agave for added sweetness

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER: Try these delicious alcohol-free holiday drink recipes

  • Cilantro-Lime Melon Cooler: honey dew + cilantro + matcha green tea + lime juice + cucumber

  • Ultimate Aqua Fresca: strawberry + mint + hibiscus tea + lime + sparkling water

  • Fuzzy Peach-Basil Chia Fresca: peach + basil + peach green tea + lemon + chia seed

  • Blackberry-Sage Cooler: blackberries + sage leaf [just one will do] + berry green tea + sparkling water

  • Citrus Rosemary Refresher – nectarine + rosemary [just a few leaves with stem for garnish] + green tea + grapefruit + cucumber

Want more ideas? Check out my meal plans here for access to 1,000s of deliciously simple recipes. Enjoy 7 days for free, no credit card required! Contact me for more details at lisa@nutritiondecode.com


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